Linguine with Pecorino and black pepper – ‘cacio e pepe’

I’ve been meaning to whip up a bowl of this simple pasta dish for ages; originating in Rome, it appears on smart restaurant menus all over the place these days. As there are only three ingredients, linguine, Pecorino Romano cheese and black pepper, they all have to be top quality. The consistency of the sauce is key so you need to work quickly to combine the warm pasta, the finely grated cheese and cooking water at the end. I had a couple of minor fails before I got it right but it’s so worth the effort because it’s completely delicious. Served with a green salad and a nice glass of red, it’s a perfect fast supper dish.

  • Serves 2
  • 200g linguine (you can make it with spaghetti, I just prefer linguine)
  • 100g Pecorino Romano cheese, finely grated
  • 1 tbsp olive oil
  • 5g freshly ground black pepper
  • Salt

To make…

  • Bring a large pan of lightly salted water to the boil and cook the linguine until cooked al dente (tender but firm to the bite) – it usually takes about 10 minutes. Drain immediately, reserving a cup full of the cooking water.
  • In a separate pan (a non-stick frying pan works best) add the olive oil and black pepper, a couple of spoonful of the pasta water and mix thoroughly. Allow to cool.
  • Add the drained linguine to the frying pan and add about 50ml of the reserved water back in.
  • Carefully shower in the cheese, stirring with a wooden spoon or fork as you do so to create a creamy sauce. It’s important to add the cheese gradually and stir quickly so that the cheese doesn’t form into lumps. Add more of the cooking water if necessary to make the sauce silky.
  • Divide the linguine into two warmed bowls to serve. Sprinkle with a little more pepper.

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About Janet Davies @pigeoncottage

Food lover, author, cook!
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